Takodé is a mission village situated in the karen mountain sectors of Maetan. The slope is steep up until the peak of Doy Pepper which culminates on the whole region. Up there, a golden pagoda, swept by the winds, gleams in the sun or deatches from the fog, depending on whether you are a pilgrim of the evening or of the morning. Then one must follow the path for a few more kilometers to arrive at the village. In these simple houses live endearing families that we know well and visit regularly. At the height of the village, a wooden chapel reminds us of the path of the Gospel, a road of passion and ressurection.
A child of Takodé village, Blaija, was also a former student of the karen boarding school of Ponoipou. Only daughter among the eight children of the christian chief, she was married for one year, and was pregnant. They said the young couple was very much in love. In the house where several generations lived together, Blaija took care of her sick grandmother. Last year, her grandmother left this earth. The very next night, at the term of a difficult labour, that her relatives could not control, Blaija joined her ancestors. « Grandma took away the life of her grand daughter », we heard that day, in tears.
We are now in october, the end of the rainy season, and the roads are impracticable. Blaija is in good health, she has never seen the doctor. The child was to be delivered, as often, at home. They say that Blaija had the intuition to entrust the child to her young husband… A few hours later, the evening turned into a tragedy for the young mother, but her child is safe, a little girl. The mountain is in complete shock. Alerted by a neighbor who climbed to the top to get a phone signal, the karen sisters and myself leave on motorcycle with the catechist and a few young people of the village who came looking for us. Arriving at Takodé, we visit the family and stay close to them. The christian chief’s house was overcrowded with villagers who came to pray and show their compassion.
And oh desolation, the suffering of the family was not yet finished. One month later, the young husband, inconsolable, puts an end to his life. The parents of Blaija are in disarray. We arrive very quickly. We pray. The family, their faith shaken, seeks answers. So I put Takodé under the double intercession of saint Theresa and Father Jacques Hamel, for love to grow and that there may appear, in the death of Blaija and her husband, the first fruits of the tragedy : prayer, fidelity and support. For it is Blaija who whispers softly to our hearts, not the memory of a dark night, but rather the fervor and generosity of those who come together to pray and help.
It is in rememberence of her, and to encourage her family, that I invite the young people of the french chaplaincy to spend a few days at Takodé to celebrate Easter there, last April. This visit would bring much comfort to the whole village, I thought…
The encounter was a joy and an exceptional feast for this lost village. Placed in groups of two in the families, the young French discovered the Karen hospitality, the rustic houses, the clearing of the hills, some local games and cuisine, and the embellishing of the chapel. With brushes and talent, the karen children joined them to decorate some terracotta vases now placed on the prayer altar which now decorates the walls of each house. These vases were offered the night of Easter, while the community gathered around a renewed fire.
In this village who was in pain a few months before, the pascal candle shined the whole night. The young girl was baptised in this village. Her name, Teresa, is written in the sky, where the shape of a T can be found. Mary, who also has her constellation, protects her. In this village, where so many looks have been exchanged, it is Jesus Christ and our Lord who joined theirs and loved them. In this village, visited by missionnaries, the good grain has fell in fertile soil. In this village, I am happy to continue my predecessors’ work who obeyed to the precept of the Lord : « strengthen your brothers ! »